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New York, New York: Upstate Teams Tops in Clean Snowmobile Challenge
For more information on this story contact:
Email:Marcia Goodrich

March 20, 2005--Two teams from New York state clinched the silver and gold in the 2005 SAE Clean snowmobile">Snowmobile Challenge, hosted for the third year in a row by Michigan Technological University. The State University of New York at Buffalo took first place, with Clarkson University, in Potsdam, placing second.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is the Society of Automotive Engineers' newest collegiate design competition. Teams of engineering students from participating schools take a stock snowmobile and then reengineer it to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving performance.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison finished third, with the University of Maine taking fourth place and Kettering University in Flint, Mich., finishing fifth. Thirteen teams competed in the event.

The SUNY Buffalo team took the Challenge's mandate to heart. "We tried to focus on the Challenge's three main objectives: emissions, sound and performance," said team captain Brian Belmont. To those ends, they started with a Honda Silverwing, 600-cc, four-stroke engine; turbo-charged it; and mounted it in a Polaris chassis.

"Then we did lots of sound and emissions tests to achieve our goals," he said. "We were confident that we'd built a good machine, and we knew it would be among the top sleds, but we were surprised to be first."

Buffalo also took the Gage Products Award for Best Fuel Economy; the Land and Sea, Inc. Award for Best Performance, given to the team that performed best in the acceleration and objective handling events and passed the noise and emission tests; and the Blue Ribbon Award for Most Practical Solution, based on the best balance between noise and emission reduction and cost.

Clarkson and Buffalo tied for the PCB Group Award for the Quietest Snowmobile. Clarkson nabbed the SAE Award for Best Design, based on written paper, oral presentation and static display scores; and the DENSO International America, Inc. Award for Best Ride.

The University of Wisconsin at Platteville aced the performance events with their two-stroke sled, receiving the U.S. Army TACOM/National Automotive Center Award for Best Handling and the International Engineering and Manufacturing (Woody's) Award for Best Acceleration.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison, which competed with an innovative gas-electric hybrid engine, earned the Lotus Engineering, Inc. and Horiba Instruments, Inc. Award for Lowest Emissions.

The University of Maine received the Emitec Award for Best Value, for achieving the best balance between cost, fuel economy and performance.

The University of Alberta was awarded the Founders' Trophy for Sportsmanlike Conduct.

Event organizer Jay Meldrum, director of MTU's Keweenaw Research Center, said that the teams just keep getting better. "Everybody was much cleaner than last year," he said. "The designs are much more mature, the sleds were better built."

That only comes with time, he added. "You can't do this in a year."

Possible changes on tap for next year's Challenge, which will be held at KRC's winter testing facility, will be a separate category for all-electric sleds such as McGill University's. McGill impressed officials with its quiet operation but was unable to complete the noise test, which requires entries to travel between 35 mph and 55 mph through the test area.

In any event, Buffalo plans to be back.

"We had a great competition; we had fun," team captain Belmont said. "And we can't wait to do it again next year."

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